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Office of Administrative Law Judges
Chief Judge Stephen L. Purcell

Chief Judge Stephen L. Purcell Overview

Stephen L. Purcell was appointed as the Department of Labor's Chief Administrative Law Judge on January 16, 2011. Prior to that, he served as the Department's Acting Chief Judge beginning March 4, 2010, and was the Associate Chief Judge for DOL's Longshore and Traditional programs from 2007 to 2010. Judge Purcell is responsible for the management and overall operations of the Office of Administrative Law Judges, including the financial management of the Office, the assignment and timely disposition of all cases, and the supervision of Administrative Law Judges and support staff working in Washington, DC and seven District Offices located around the country. Judge Purcell serves as the liaison between OALJ and other agencies, both within and outside the Department of Labor, and he hears and decides cases in all program areas including such matters as: federal workers' compensation claims under the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act and Black Lung Benefits Act; whistleblower complaints filed under a variety of federal environmental, transportation, corporate and other statutes; labor enforcement actions implicating such matters as violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Davis Bacon Act; and immigration-related matters involving certification of temporary and permanent alien workers. As Chief Judge, Judge Purcell also serves as Chair of the Board of Alien Labor Certification Appeals which considers and decides appeals filed by employers and aliens regarding denials of labor certification applications.

Prior Career/Professional Highlights

  • Administrative Law Judge with the Social Security Administration
  • Appellate Counsel for the Disabled American Veterans
  • Litigation partner and solo practitioner in private practice
  • Assistant U.S. Attorney with the Department of Justice in Maryland and Florida
  • Trial Attorney at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
  • Member of the District of Columbia Bar and admitted to practice in the U.S. Supreme Court and various federal trial and appellate courts


  • B.S. University of Maryland, University College
  • J.D. The Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law